Seminerio, a salesman for a tech company who lives in Toronto, already provided the border officer proof of COVID-19 vaccination and that he’d travelled to New York for work reasons, plus a negative PCR test result within 72 hours.
“I think this testing requirement was unneeded, but also the fact that I had to provide all this information was not something that I was comfortable with,” Seminerio told CBC News.
Last week, however, he unexpectedly received an email from Switch Health saying his test result was available. Confused, he logged into the app.
Seminerio said only then was he allowed to enter Canada. A few days later on Aug. 13, he received his negative COVID-19 test result from the Toronto-based company called Switch Health and continued on with his summer, not using the service again.
Christopher Seminerio felt uneasy about providing his personal information to a private testing company so he could cross the Peace Bridge into Fort Erie, Ont. from the U.S. in August, but says he didn’t have a choice if he wanted to return home.
But he was still required to go to a nearby racetrack parking lot, enter his name, address, birth date and passport, health card and cellphone numbers into the Switch Health app and undergo the additional swab, he said.
There he found another person’s test order and results but with all the personal information he’d entered for his own test months earlier. He’d also been sent a second person’s test order with their birth date, but his health card and passport numbers and contact details.
Alarmed, Seminerio called Switch Health.
“I’m thinking, where else has my data been sent to? Where else can it be found?” he said. Seminerio said the Switch Health representative he spoke to was apologetic and assured him his information was safe.
“Which seems like the most ridiculous statement as I’m looking at someone else’s private health information,” Seminerio said. “They had no way to answer how they could prove or guarantee that mine wasn’t shared with anyone else.” He requested that his account be deactivated and all his personal information be deleted from Switch Health’s databases, but he’s still concerned about where else it might be stored or who else might’ve inadvertently received it.
Switch Health says its taken action Switch Health, contracted by the federal government to handle testing for those entering Canada, is aware of “a recent concern that was raised regarding the inadvertent receipt of test results,” said spokesperson Jordan Paquet.
Neither Health Canada nor the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) provided a comment in time for the publication of this story and did not answer questions about why someone would be selected to undergo Switch Health testing at land borders. There was also no response to questions about how many Canadians have been required to take the tests, and if the ministry or the CBSA are concerned about how personal health data is being stored and used by the company. Canadians should be concerned, expert says
He noted Switch Health has successfully administered more than two million COVID tests. “At Switch Health, security of patient information is a top priority. When we became aware of this issue, we immediately took corrective action and have contacted the individuals involved regarding the error.”